Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Mangos are Back in Season

SIDE NOTE: Forgive me for my lack of blogging/vlogging. Life in Indonesia has been moving incomprehensibly fast and it doesn't seem real that my countdown says I only have 49 days left. I have a feeling the stories will be easier to write once I'm back home in Bozeman and things start making a bit more sense. On another note, this is the last call to donate to KM! Do so here!!!!
This woman is my rock. And so is her juice and Milo.
The mangos are back. I've come full circle. The seasons have changed, and nearly nine months later, I'm back to my beginning. In my first weeks of arriving and adjusting and being completely terrified about my impending life abroad in the bizarre country that is Indonesia, I found solace in the simplicity of a glass of street mango juice. Granted that it was probably the instigator of an ongoing case of traveler's stomach, its smooth, tangy chill comforted me on the days when the daunting rain clouds poured torrential rains for my homesick tears that had forgotten how to fall. Or the time when I had spent my day in silence too afraid to speak my five words of Bahasa, so I instead resorted to sipping my mango juice on the curb and sharing smiles with the juice seller. In my early days, I found comfort in the simple beauty that my city held. Whether it be the towering sea-blue home next door or the way the sun kissed the battered alleyway on my morning walks to school. And it was these things that kept me going. It was these things that fueled my courage to live up to YES Abroad's standards. It was those $0.50 cups of mango juice that reminded me to embrace the beauty of the adventure that had so quickly engulfed my life.

Then the mangos went out of season, and the face of my friendly juice seller fell flat as she told me that mangos were not going to be back for a long, long time. As the mango season came to a close, so did my fear of getting lost in angkot, or lost in conversation, or lost in the thoughts that had constructed mazes in the inner fixtures of the person I was transforming into. I was growing. I was changing. I was loving. And just as quickly as I had fallen in love with mangos, I had forgotten about them and the obstacles that had been thrown in my face when they had been in season. Life became a bit more normal. I journeyed from city to city of Java with my host family. I spoke in front of large crowds. I met a collection of inspiring, uplifting people. I was busy, trying to finish an online class, make friends, learn how to cook, practice my Bahasa, volunteer. Each day quietly slipped by and suddenly the second half of my exchange was nearing its finale.

So yesterday, when I got word that the mangos had returned, of course, excitement ensued. My hands couldn't refrain from meandering over the rough, green peels, bringing me back to those first moments that just months before had quickly become foggy memories. My beloved fruit had grown, just as I had. But this time when sour mango juice hung on my lips, something had changed. The familiar comfort that had accompanied my mangos in the early months was replaced with something else entirely. Heartache. Grief. Straight up sadness. The juice woman's promise of "a long, long time" had passed in strikingly fast moments. The mangos are back. I've come full circle. And while the return of the mangos symbolizes the near end of this journey I've come to love so much, they also symbolize the start of a new one. The mangos are back. And boy, they are the sweetest they've ever been. 

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